his glance. Mr. Christian was telling some tale, leaning forward with his hands on his spread knees and his arms bowed out like a bulldog's legs. His glass was on the floor beside him. Lucille Christian was regarding her father with an air of affectionate amusement, which made Mr. Munn, for the first time, become aware of a real liking for her. The boy, he noticed, was looking at her too. Then he turned back to Mr. Munn. " Lucille told me—Miss Christian, that is—she told me about the first big rally when they organized the Association. I wish I'd been here last summer and heard your speech. She told me about your speech. It was wonder- ful, she said. She said everybody thought it was wonderful. Her father and Senator Tolliver. Everybody." "It was an accident/' Mr. Munn said. An accident, he thought. And the substance of that moment when he had stood wordless on the platform that day before all those people was powerfully and immediately in his mind: the enormous emptiness of the swinging, incandescent blue depth of the sky, the emptiness, tugging like an abyss, of all these faces lifted under the beating light, the dryness of his own throat. And the old man whose face he had seen below the platform. Yes, an accident And an accident that I'm here aow, he decided. And looking across the big, pleasant room with its soft carpet and fine furnishings and at the leaping firelight and the known faces, he was aware how strong accident was—how here he was, warmed and fed and sur- rounded by these people who, if he spoke a single word, would turn pleasantly to him, and how cold it was snowing outside, all the countryside filling up with snow that would blind all familiar contours, and how but for the accidents which were his history he might be out there, or elsewhere, miserable, lost, unbefriended. How anyone might be. That thought made the room, and all in it seem suddenly insub- stantial, like a dream. The bottom might drop out; it was fo>ppbg out even while you looked, maybe. He shook his bead, as though in a dismissal, and turning to the boy, repeated, "It was an accident."